Monday, July 26, 2010

Red Beet Gnocchi with Mushrooms, Peas, and Frizzled Sage

Charisse is an artist by trade and by profession. She makes things pretty for a living. Vibrant complimentary colors with the occasional contrast thrown in for effect flow around pleasing shapes and enjoyable images. This is just the way she is. Eric on the other hand subscribes to the practical, doesn't-have-to-be-pretty-just-has-to-work school of doing things. You can even see this in our food, the prettier it is, the more Charisse had to do with it. These discussions have been the foundation of many of our disagreements, 99% of which end with "Eric your wrong because I said so". Every now and again, Eric does get to win, but that is usually regulated to picking between multiple pre-selected choices of the "which of these chairs do you like?" variety or futzing in the garage. Over the weekend, Eric got to actually win something on his own. We needed better lighting in the kitchen for our pictures, so Eric mounted some movable lights and flash-mounts to the ceiling to help even out our light sources. Not exactly pretty, but they do work, which just goes to show that sometimes the power drill is mightier than the paintbrush. Not often. But sometimes.

Our dinner Saturday night was very much Charisse's meal, the red beets became a vibrant red pasta topped with a very rustic sauce. Charisse has actually struggled with cooking Gnocchi, which was tough for her because it is one of her favorite foods. Gnocchi are very delicate to cook right, too long and they turn very mushy and you end up with more of a soup than a pasta. Trust us, we know. Pizza was good that night. Charisse played with it a few times and finally figured it out. These ones came out light and fluffy and bright red, but only carried a enough of a hint of beet flavor to add that extra something. We topped them with a sauce that tasted creamy, but actually had very little in it. With the frizzled sage on top, the dish came out very rustic looking, and tasted rustic too. Now if your not sure what rustic actually tastes like, try making this sauce, but be warned, theres a good chance you'll end up licking the plates clean like we did.

Ok, ok we know that it looks like we've murdered something, but this is what shredded beets look like!

Beet Gnocchi
What You Will Need

2 large beets
1 egg
1 lb. ricotta cheese
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 cups flour
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450*

Wash and trim your beets and wrap individually in foil.  Roast for about one hour, then let cool for 15 minutes.  Once the beets are cooled the skins should slip off easily.  Using a grater, coarsely grate the beets, you will want to end up with 3/4 cups of grated beets at the end of this process.   

In a large bowl or your stand mixer, mix together the ricotta cheese and 3/4 cups of grated beets.  Add the egg, parmesan, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.  Add flour and mix, this is where you will want to check the consistency of your dough.  I thought my dough was still a bit wet so I added a 1/2 cup more of flour.  My beets were pretty juicy so depending on your beets and dough consistency, add a bit of flour at a time until you get a dough that is not too wet, it will still be a bit sticky but you want to be able to roll the dough into the little pillows.  

Now it's time to get your hands a bit dirty.  Through a 1/2 cup of flour on a large baking sheet and flour your hands.  Drop teaspoon amounts of dough onto the floured surface.  Gently roll the dough in your hands until a ball forms, next roll the ball into a more of oblong shape.  Using a fork or a gnocchi roller, press lightly so you get those pretty little groves in the top of the gnocchi.  Set back onto the floured baking sheet and continue until you are finished.  Chill your gnocchi until you are ready to cook them.  

When ready to cook, bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook the gnocchi, when they are ready they will float to the top of the water.  Cook another minute or two, then scoop them out of the water with a slotted spoon, you can drain them on a paper towel if you want as well.  Top with sauce, parmesan cheese, and frizzled sage and serve hot.  

Mushroom and Pea Sauce 
What You Will Need

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup of peas
1/2 lb of mushrooms sliced. (We used cremini mushrooms but I think oysters or morels would also be amazing)
1 shallot minced
2 cloves of garlic minced
fresh sage mince some but set aside a handful of whole leaves to make the frizzled sage
2 green onions sliced
3 slices of bacon finely chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
a bit of freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet heat up your oil and brown your shallot and garlic, add in the green onions and some of the sage and cook until the shallot is translucent.  

Add your peas, cook for about one minute and then through in your bacon and the rest of your minced sage.  Saute until the bacon in cooked and add in your mushrooms.  Continue cooking until the mushrooms are soft and fragrant.  Add the nutmeg, salt, pepper and cream.  Simmer on low until sauce has thickened lightly and you are ready to serve.  

Frizzled Sage
What You Will Need

10 sage leaves
1 Tbsp butter

In a small fry pan, heat your butter until it foams, add the leaves making sure to keep separated.  Fry about 1 minute until crispy, be careful not to burn.  Drain on a paper towel.  

adapted from Bon Appetit magazine 


  1. LOL. I'm with Eric, I am TERRIBLE at presentation because I can't be bothered. But you have the best of both worlds there ;)

  2. I have never seen beet gnocchi before - that is very creative. I bet it had great flavor.

  3. Beet gnocchi! I must try this!

  4. wow, I have never heard of beet gnocchi before. I really hate beets, but maybe this is the right medium to learn to like them!

  5. Hey, this is so random and cool you've done this! I recently made sweet potato gnocchi!! absolutely great post!!!

  6. Beautiful ingredients, beautiful photos and a beautiful dish! Bravo. Just the inspiration I needed to try my hand at making gnocchi.

  7. Beet gnocchi is a fantastic idea. Thank you for visiting.

  8. Love the color.
    We're fans of fried sage.
    This sounds like a winner!

  9. i love beets, and this looks delicious!! just might have to try this...

  10. That looks beautiful and big props for getting dirty with beets, I love beets but hate making anything with them, my white kitchen counters are so hard to clean afterward.